Football: 'A draw is better for us than for them'

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OPTIMISM FUELLED by scoring the goal that keeps his country in the World Cup finals for at least another week prompted Craig Burley to predict Scotland can still reach the second round of France 98.

The Celtic player lobbed home Scotland's equaliser against Norway in Bordeaux last night within five minutes of moving into his favoured midfield role and he is sufficiently encouraged by the team's opening two performances to believe this can be the summer that the Tartan Army can finally enjoy an elongated international tournament.

He said: "Brazil are the world champions and Norway the form team in Europe yet we've played well in both games so I see no reason to fear anything going into our final game against Morocco. I think Norway have to beat Brazil in their final game so this has been a better draw for us than for them."

Burley plays at right wing-back for his country, more out of duty to the team than from personal inclination, but the withdrawal of Darren Jackson as Scotland trailed to Havard Flo's 46th minute goal gave him the opportunity to return to his preferred midfield position.

The former Chelsea player, who was also on target in Scotland's pre-finals friendly with Colombia, said: "I was delighted to get into the middle of the park at a time when we were pushing for a goal and I was glad I had a couple of chances. I was not only pleased to score but also to get the goal that keeps us in the competition.

"A lot of people were writing us off saying 'here we go again - Scotland are going home after the first round' but we're still in with a chance of staying in the competition."

Scotland's coach, Craig Brown, could not mask his disappointment at the failure to gain a three-point return from such a positive performance. He said: "Having had so much of the play from the first two games, to have only one point is disappointing. But hopefully we will win our third match and that gives us a chance of qualification."

His opposite number, Egil Olsen, conceded that Scotland were for long periods the better side. "We started well in the second half and looked very safe until the goal for 1-1. After that we lost our organisation and in fact we were lucky we didn't lose the match."

Brazil bravura, page 30

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